Monday, January 18, 2010

Do-or-Die - Obama Punching Tactics and Health Care

As I watch the health care political boxing match, I’m reminded Obama attack tactics on health care cuts two ways.

Fight tactics on the Left

Obama's attack tactics are clear enough.

He will claim,

• Uncontrolled health costs are driving the U.S. economy into the ground.

• Health costs are propelling millions of Americans into bankruptcy.

• The U.S health status compares badly to other world health systems.

• Americans are dying in the streets and in ERs because of lack of insurance.

• Villainous and venal private health plans are denying care to sick Americans with pre-existing illnesses.

• D.C. elites know more than people in the streets.

• Only big government, with its infinite resources and good intentions, can expand access and cut costs.

Fight Tactics on the Right

Obama's opponents counter-attack tactics are obvious, too.

Health reform will,

. cause you to lose your current coverage;

• ratio care for Medicare recipients, particularly for those who seek expensive treatments or care at the end of life;

• mandate care for the young and pursue them with harsh IRS fines if they do not pay;

• mandate that small businesses “play for pay,” imposing further burdens on small enterprises;

• create a situation in which federal bureaucrats, not doctors, make critical medical decisions;

• force the middle class to pay higher taxes for the poor, illegal immigrants, abortions, and many who could afford to pay;

• raise the national debt to insurmountable and unpayable levels for future generations.

Political Rope-A Dope

As I view the thrusts and counter-trusts, Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope boxing tactics come to mind. A boxer assumes a protected stance, in Ali's classic pose, lying against the ropes, and allows his opponent to hit him, in the hope that the opponent will become tired and make mistakes which the boxer can exploit in a counterattack.

In competitive situations other than boxing, like politics, one party purposely puts itself in what appears to be a losing position, attempting thereby to become the eventual victor.

In this case, Republicans are against the ropes, but the Democrats are making mistakes - refusing to have proceedings televised on C-Span after Obama promised eight times in his campaign to do otherwise; buying off Senator’s votes in Louisiana, Nebraska, Montana, Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts, to name the most precious and egregious few; delaying taxes on Cadillac-health plans of unions until 2018 while other Americans in such plans must start coughing up taxes in 2013; in general, doing anything and everything in secret, incognito, and in cloak-filled rooms behind closed doors; and now plotting how to get their health plan through by hook or by crook even if they lose the special election in Massachusetts and cannot avoid a Republican Senate filibuster.

A Knockout or a Split-Decision

Will the Republicans win by a knockout, or will the Democrats prevail in a split-decision?

Dr. Richard Reece is author, blogger, speaker, and innovation and reform commentator. Dr. Reece’s latest book, Obama, Doctors, and Health Reform ( is available at www.iuniverse and other book websites. For information on speaking fees and arrangements, call 860-395-1501.

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